Creating Responsive Communities for the Prevention of Peer Victimization
Constable Julie Chanin, RCMP Officer
Classroom visits from community leaders are one of the most important interactions to sustain student interest in the WITS Programs. These informal visits, which take only five to 10 minutes, help promote the programs' community presence while giving students a chance to interact with positive community role models who reinforce the WITS message.
Classroom visits may include the distribution of reminder gifts which support children to "use their WITS." They also encourage teachers to stay involved in the WITS Programs by demonstrating that the community is willing to reinforce the message by building a rapport with students.
The first visit of the school year takes place in September or early October. This school visit is different from the rest of the classroom visits that happen throughout the year. During this initial visit, community leaders conduct two special activities to launch the WITS Primary and WITS LEADS Programs:
|Swearing-In Ceremony - Presented in cooperation with school teachers and administrators, this ceremony introduces the WITS Primary Program. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 declare a WITS oath and are deputized as WITS Special Constables.|
|Tug-of-Help - This skit introduces the WITS LEADERS -- Grades 4 to 6 students involved in the WITS LEADS Program -- to the younger grades. WITS LEADERS can act as lunch monitors, playground helpers or crossing guards and should be seen as someone younger students can turn to for help.|
After this initial visit, community leaders should then make follow-up visits to classes every two months throughout the school year. These essential visits help sustain the WITS Programs' community presence, reinforce the WITS message for students and support teachers in their continued use of the WITS Programs in their classrooms.
Follow-up classroom visits are designed to minimize the impact on limited community leader resources while maximizing the impact on students. Each 5-10 minute visit is flexible and informal, meant solely to maintain the momentum of the program by encouraging students to use their WITS.
While there is no set format for classroom visits, community leaders generally use the visits to talk to students about how they have been able to use WITS or WITS LEADS strategies. Delivering reminder gifts to the students is also a key element of the classroom visit. After each visit, some community leaders find it helpful to fill out the Classroom Visit Information Sheet [pdf | doc] in order to keep track of when they made their visit, what reminder gifts they dropped off and any other important details.
For more information about making the most out of classroom visits, check out the resources below:
|Tips for Classroom Visits - A list of things to do before, during and after your classroom visit to help make your time in the schools a success.||Classroom Visit Video - Learn more about classroom visits by watching video of a classroom visit conducted by RCMP Constable Julie Chanin.||
Multimedia Resources - These resources, including a WITS song, Claymation video and more, can help make your time in the classroom memorable.
Classroom visits generally include the distribution of reminder gifts such as books, bookmarks, pens, pencils and posters. These have been developed by the WITS Programs' partner, the non-profit Rock Solid Foundation, to reinforce the WITS message and to assist students in using their WITS at school and at home. Every reminder gift is labeled with the WITS acronym to reinforce the purpose of the program.
These reminder gifts help to create a positive atmosphere of anticipation for students and provide a tangible reminder to use their WITS on a daily basis. When students bring these gifts home, they also act as a conversation-starter with parents to get them talking with their kids about WITS.
The Rock Solid Foundation orders reminder gifts in bulk and can therefore offer them to schools at a reduced cost. Contact the Rock Solid Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Some schools have also created their own unique WITS Programs reminder gifts and had them manufactured or printed locally.